(The image is a 3×5 card I wrote to myself while I was finishing the grant: STRIVE FOR MEDIOCRATY. Which of course is misspelled. Well played, past Kij.)
Time flew and flew and flew. Everything has been in flux with lots of if/thens and yes-buts, and I kept waiting to write until I could tell you something concrete. This week’s post will be a start at that, but there are still things I can’t talk about, and other things I don’t really know yet, so expect another “Here’s the deal” in a week or two.
But here’s what I can talk about: Chris and I finished and submitted the NSF grant I spent the whole of last fall working on. Immediately afterward Chris and Lauren took a short Texas vacation. School started, he returned — we both caught covid from different sources, and this time it wasn’t a few days, it was way over a week. Why am I telling you about Chris’s health? Because once he finally got better, he got the very bad news that goings-on at KU were going to force him to change Ad Astra’s status, which has effects on me, as well. This is one of the things that is still unfinished, so I can’t say much, not knowing what the end result will be; but I can say that this change is not coming from the wonderful person who gave Chris the space to start Ad Astra.
Also in January: I decided that it was time for me to leave KU and started moving things forward for that. I have many reasons that at the moment I won’t detail, but I can say that some aspects of my job were corroding my self-respect and depressing me; the money and benefits weren’t great; and the job security of a tenured position turns out not to be so secure, after all. I still don’t know the exact details of leaving: I have asked for a 25% phased retirement, which would mean I can keep my insurance and a few other things for a couple of extra years, but the university decides whether to offer this and I haven’t gotten confirmation yet. Whatever happens, I’ll start looking aggressively for other sorts of (part-time) work to make up the money that I need for the next few years. The main things I want to be doing are teaching workshops and master classes; consulting on the STEM/creativity/creative writing nexus and on story/narrative theory; ideally, teaching at a low-residency MFA; and writing and editing. I have thought a lot about whether leaving KU is doable and it is — just, but I’ll also start doing more things with my Patreon and perhaps a kickstarter project, as well. (Feel free to sign up on Patreon….)
But there’s some immediately wonderful stuff: the summer workshops are ON! And so is an online Master Class in September. I am very excited about what I’ll be doing on the future. More details next week and as I get them.
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Thank you for updating us, and best wishes for a smooth and heartening transition into a new phase of your life!